ENERGY DRINK: UNMASKING THE MYTHJune 10, 2013
37TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND GENERAL MEETING COMMUNIQUEOctober 26, 2013
The 36th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) was held at the Conference Centre of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos State from 15th – 19th October, 2012. During the event, diverse stakeholder groups and individuals in the food industry, academia and policy makers met and rubbed minds on contemporary issues in the food and nutrition industry in the country and to chart a course for future development. The theme of the Conference was, “Food, Nutrition and Wellness: Key to National Transformation Agenda”.
- The Conference commended the Federal Government’s National Agricultural Transformation Agenda (NATA), describing it as the needed “catalyst” for achieving Food Security. It however regrets the non-inclusion of relevant professionals and stakeholder bodies while packaging the concept; a missing link that could threaten the effectiveness and sustainability of the programme; noting that the document placed very low emphasis on food processing, value addition and sustained training (capacity building) of agricultural practitioners- all of which are motive forces that drive and intensify Agricultural productivity.
- The conference also decried the present state of food and nutrition insecurity in the country where more than half of the population (53%) is malnourished; in spite of the availability of vast arable lands, human resources and agricultural output.
- The dearth of commercial processing businesses and poor road network between farmers, processors and consumers and limited access to funding were identified as key causes of post harvest losses. Also, lack of appropriate technology by industry contributes to the inconsistent quality of processed foods.
- Inconsistencies in Government policies and programmes and lack of infrastructure hamper the profitability and stability of AGRO-BASED industries.
- The devastating effects of recent flood disasters on farmlands and infrastructures (Electricity, clean water, storage facilities, roads etc) will worsen the state of food insecurity in the country and worsen health challenges.
- The President and Commander – In – Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is humbly requested to give accent to the bill for the establishment of the Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology; and to ensure that only properly trained and registered professionals are engaged in the critical points of Nigerian food supply chain in order to meet the objectives of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda.
- Relevant organizations such as Nigerian Institute of Food Science & Technology (NIFST), Raw materials research and development council (RMRDC), Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Agricultural Research Institutes, Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Agency For Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Financial Institutions, etc should network to ensure the successful implementation of NATA.
- The Federal and State Governments should partner with various NGOS such as GAIN, who are working on Nutritional and wellness intervention for the under-privileged, to actualize their goals on the alleviation of micronutrient malnutrition. The different tiers of Government (Federal, State and L.G.A.) should put in place plans for the production and adequate distribution of enriched/fortified foods and supplements; and incorporate food diversification programmes into their food security agenda.
- The Institute is still urging that the Federal and State Ministries of Agriculture establish Directorates of Post harvest Technology to be headed by qualified Food Technologists.
- NIFST Strongly advocates the review and implementation of the National Policy of Food hygiene and Safety; to promote the adoption of International best food practices in food handling.
- Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) are the pillars of any economy and should be supported to establish food processing enterprises that will spawn new jobs and alleviate poverty.
- The Government should take urgent steps to halt the displacement of qualified Nigerians by foreigners in food companies and to ensure that expatriates are not placed on jobs for which there are qualified Nigerians.
- Government at all levels should engage qualified professionals to keep SMEs up to speed with emerging technology and issues that will enhance the capacity of indigenous food processors.
Federal, States and LGAs should take immediate and necessary steps to ameliorate the effect of recent flood disaster on food security.
Prof. Lateef O. Sanni (FNIFST) …………………………………………Dr Filli K .B
National President …………………………………………………………… National Secretary